Bernardine of Feltre, Blessed

Bernardine of Feltre

The Blessed Bernardine of Feltre (sometimes Bernardinus of Feltre) was a Friar Minor and missionary, b. at Feltre, Italy, in 1439 and d. at Pavia, 28 September, 1494. He is remembered in connexion with the monti di pietà of which he was the reorganizer and, in a certain sense, the founder, together with the Blessed Michele Carcano. During his iterant preaching he stirred up anti-Judaism throughout Italy, which in Trent led to accusations of blood libel against Jewish residents after the death of Simon of Trent, resulting in the torture and execution of seventeen Jews and the expulsion of Jews from that city which lasted 300 years. The feast of Blessed Bernardino is kept in the Order of Friars Minor on 28 September.

Life

He belonged to the noble family of Tomitano and was the eldest of nine children. In 1456 St. James of the Marches preached the Lenten course at Padua, and inspired Bernardine to enter the Franciscan order, Bernardine was clothed with the habit of the Friars Minor in May of the same year. He completed successfully his studies at Mantua and was ordained priest in 1463. Cured of an impediment in his speech, Bernardine began his apostolate. Every city of note and every province from Lombardy in the north to Sardinia and the provinces of the south became successively the scene of his missionary labours.

Aided by the practical notion of establishing mont-de-piétés, he called for the explusion of Jews all over Italy and Tyrol.

Iconography

Blessed Bernardine's is generally represented in iconography as carrying in his hand a monti di pietà, that is, a little green hill composed of three mounds and on the top either a cross or a standard with the inscription Curam illius habe (a snippet from the Vulgate translation of the Gospel of Luke's Parable of the Good Samaritan).

Works

The authorship of the well-known Anima Christi has as often as not been ascribed to Bernardine of Feltre. The fact, however, that the Anima Christi was composed sometime before 1439 disproves any claim that he might have of being its author, though much like Ignatius of Loyola, Bernardine made frequent use of it and recommended it to his brethren.

References

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